Justin Sinkovich Discusses A New Master’s Program

Justin Sinkovich Discusses A New Master’s Program

By the end of the program, Entrepreneurship for Creatives students complete a business plan and pitch deck to use for securing venture funding.

This year, the Business and Entrepreneurship department introduced a new one-year Master’s program: Entrepreneurship for Creatives. Graduate Program Director Justin Sinkovich answered some questions about the new program.

How did the department decide this was a program that needed to be offered?

A team of faculty in the Business and Entrepreneurship Department including myself worked with the School of Graduate Studies and other departments across the college.  We identified the fact that the number of freelancing, gig economy, and entrepreneurship careers are growing and that there is a need for a graduate entrepreneurship program that is specific to the creative industries. These arts, entertainment, and media industries are our department’s strong suit of course, and we have a great number of active entrepreneurs on faculty.

As we worked on the curriculum, we saw a demand for hybrid courses, meaning partially online and partially face-to-face. We offer the live meetings at night for working professionals, and we made it friendly to part-time study. The hybrid nature also allows students to commute in from other cities and states for the live meetings if needed. We also structured the program to be conducive to the the College’s new combined degree initiative where undergraduate Columbia students can start on their master’s degree in their senior year and complete the undergraduate degree and their master’s degree in a total of five years.

What do Entrepreneurship for Creatives students learn in this program?

The program is structured with three main entrepreneurship courses. The first course explores innovative ideas and if there is a possibility to launch a sustainable new business venture based on that idea. Then the students prototype their venture idea. The students also start to learn what skills are needed to be a strong entrepreneur. The second course explores how to maintain and grow their prospective venture. The third course finishes up the program by completing their plans for the venture, pitching these plans, and receiving feedback on their own plans while also learning how to evaluate plans pitched by their classmates.

Those three courses are accompanied with entrepreneurship-focused business courses covering economics, law, finance, marketing, strategic leadership, venture funding, and social and community-based entrepreneurship.

How is this program different from the Master of Arts Management degree?

The Entrepreneurship for Creatives (MAE) program specifically studies launching and growing new entrepreneurial ventures. The Master of Arts Management (MAM) program provides a foundation in arts management with discipline-specific elective courses in industries like music business, visual arts, media, and performing arts.

The MAE is a one year program and 30 credit hours spread over the Fall, Spring, and Summer terms. The MAM is a two year program and 48 credit hours, with Summer not a part of the schedule of required courses. Due to the lower number of credits, the MAE’s courses are all prescribed with no electives. In the MAM, students take a deeper dive into electives of their choice that are discipline-specific or strengthen certain skill sets not covered in the required courses.

The MAM is also designed with almost entirely face-to-face courses, most of which are 15 weeks. The MAE offers 7 and 8 week courses in the aforementioned hybrid format.

There are certainly advantages to both programs both curriculum-wise and format-wise, and they are both unique from each other and unique from other programs at other institutions.

How is the first year of the degree program going so far?

The program has been going great so far. This first cohort came in with great ideas and a lot of excitement. We just completed our first eight-week Fall term. I taught the first entrepreneurship course, and my colleague Jeffrey Lewis taught the entrepreneurship-focused economics course. There was a lot of positive energy and hard work. The courses move fast, and the students were up to the challenge. The hybrid format of the courses worked very well, especially in the unique circumstances of this fall. The ventures that the students brought into the program are really inspiring and are starting to take shape quickly. In the second Fall term, the students will study entrepreneurial law and finance with two excellent professors, and then move on to the Spring and Summer courses.

Where can interested students learn more about the program or apply?

Here is a link to more information and where to apply: https://www.colum.edu/academics/programs/entrepreneurship-for-creatives

Feel free to reach out to me as well at jsinkovich@colum.edu if you have any questions!